The team’s research themes are at the interface between soft matter, fluid dynamics and nanosciences. It combines experiments, theory and numerical modelling to explore transport mechanisms at the interfaces, from macroscopic to molecular scales. Her recent activities focus in particular on nano-fluidic transport in nanopores, nanotubes, 2D materials, and aim to highlight the sometimes exotic properties of transport at these ultimate scales. She also explores mechanical properties at nanoscale using atomic force microscopes specifically developed in the laboratory. The unexpected phenomena that emerge at these scales make it possible to explore new avenues in the fields of energy and desalination. A start-up company, Sweetch Energy, has emerged from the team’s work in these subjects.
The team finally has a strong interest in the physics of everyday life and is currently leading a collaboration on the themes of skiing and waxing with the French biathlon team and Martin Fourcade.
Credits: Maggie Chiang (Simons Foundation)
Fluid dynamics are generally studied in the framework of classical physics. Yet, at a solid-liquid interface, a fluid becomes sensitive to the quantum dynamics of the solid’s electrons. For fluids flowing near atomically-smooth surfaces, this results, in particular, in a quantum contribution to the hydrodynamic friction and the generation of electric currents. Inside the team, these pheomena are studied both experimentally and theoretically.
“Massive radius-dependent flow slippage in single carbon nanotubes ” E. Secchi, S. Marbach, A. Niguès, D. Stein, A. Siria and L. Bocquet, Nature 537 210 (2016)
Nanofluidic Memory et Iontronics
Despite recent progress in artificial intelligence, modern computers still cannot compete with our brain, which sports an energy consumption orders of magnitude lower. Its functioning also wildly differs from that of electronic devices, as it uses water and ions to carry out computations – and not electrons. Very recent works – both theoretical and experimental – in the group have unveiled the existence of long-term memory phenomena in nanofluidics. We now build on these discoveries to design bio-inspired artificial systems capable of learning.
Interfaces with Molecules
In liquid water conditions, the role played by interface chemistry becomes preponderant at nanoscales and nanofluidic transport is a source of questions at the interface between quantum chemistry and condensed matter. Using ab initio dynamics methods to simulate the solvent water explicitly, we recently showed unexpected “reactive” quantum effects at the interface of 2D nanomaterials and water, such as the peculiar interaction of solvated OH- ions at the graphene surface or the facile dehydration of a graphene oxide sheet.
“Spin in a Closed‐Shell Organic Molecule on a Metal Substrate Generated by a Sigmatropic Reaction”, Bocquet, M.-L., Lorente, N., Berndt, R., Gruber, M., Angewandte Chemie, 58, 821-824 (2019)
“Versatile electrification of two-dimensional nanomaterials in water”, Grosjean, B., Bocquet, M.-L., Vuilleumier, R., Nature
Communications, 10 (1), art. no. 1656 (2019)
“Structure and chemistry of graphene oxide in liquid water from first principles”, Mouhat, F., Coudert, F.-X., Bocquet, M.-L., Nature Communications, 11 (1), art. no. 1566 (2020)
Applications at Macro-Scales :
Desalination, Filtration and Blue Energy
Typical applications that arise from the fundamental study of nanofluidic transport merge with sustainable development and energy transition. Indeed, by taking advantage of nanoscales phenomena, the team developped innovatives water filtration and desalination processes which are efficient at macroscale. The team is also studying the scale-up of technologies for the production of energy from saline gradients (gradients present notably at the mouths of lakes and rivers). Each of these different applications is based on the use of nanostructured composite membranes inside advanced fluidics processes. These technologies has for goals to exploit new renewable energy sources and to develop innovatives systems for worldwide access to drinkable water, while presenting higher energy efficiency than conventional approaches.
“New avenues for the large scale harvesting of blue energy” A. Siria, M.-L. Bocquet and L. Bocquet, Nature Reviews Chemistry 1 0091 (2017)
Nanotechnologies applied to blue osmotic energy: a new path to clean, abundant electricity from earth’s estuaries and deltas. Discover more.
UPI proposes a universal sensor and there is no limitation in the interaction probe one can imagine. Indeed size does not matter and there is no issue in integrating any kind of probe on our instruments. Discover more.
Hummink uses a patented technology that combines a nanometric “pen” with an oscillating macroresonator to perform a capillary deposition of various liquids. The system’s movement adapts to the specificities coming from either the ink or the substrate thanks to a unique electronic control. You can deposit virtually anything on anything. Discover more.